Currently India's best Test opener, Vijay (106 batting) looked hardly in any discomfort en route his 10th hundred, adding 178 runs with the ever dependable Cheteshwar Pujara (71 batting) for the unbroken second wicket. Pujara, on his part, remained unbeaten at a personal score of 121 at the end of the day's play.
It's been a game of musical chairs for the opener's slots in the Indian team, but M Vijay, the incumbent in the second Test between India and Sri Lanka in Nagpur, took it in his stride and said it was something he had come to terms with.
That safe, warm, fuzzy, home-like feeling was back for India as their two most valuable Test batsmen in recent times reunited to keep others blissfully unaware of any dangers there might have been of the new ball, fresh bowlers or scoreboard pressure.
Vijay and Pujara made sure India rammed home the advantage from day one as they recorded their fifth century-plus stand in their last seven Test innings together.
From being India's first-choice opener before his injury-break, Murali Vijay has been relegated to third in the pecking order. Kohli took very little time to settle at the crease.
Dhawan and Rahul failed in the first innings but scored 94 and 79 in the second innings of a game India nearly won.
Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara steer India into commanding position
Pujara was typically poised at the other end, mostly leaving the deliveries outside his off-stump and offering a dead bat in defence. As it turned out, a direct hit was needed, and Sadeera Samarawickrama missed from short leg. Dilruwan Perera got the right-hander to edge one on 25 but the ball fell well short of Angelo Mathews at slip. Pujara and Vijay put up a 90-run partnership in the first session.
However, in Nagpur, Vijay has done exactly what Dhawan did in Sri Lanka - making the most of the opportunity.
Pujara watched every ball closely and played a patient knock to bring up his 14th Test ton, while Vijay marked his return in the Test cricket with his 10th century.
Resuming the final session at 185 for 1, India looked good for more, but ten overs into the session came Sri Lanka's breakthrough.
The introduction of Shanaka brought two cover-driven boundaries for Vijay. A misfield, an overthrow, and even once when the 'keeper failed to gather cleanly, Kohli stole runs, prompting Pujara to do so too.
Sri Lanka were slow at the start scoring less than two runs an over with only 47 runs coming in the morn- ing session.
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